Hempstead Village Deputy Police Chief Richard Holland, left, outside the courtroom...

Hempstead Village Deputy Police Chief Richard Holland, left, outside the courtroom during a recess in his trial at the Nassau County courthouse in Mineola, on Monday. Credit: Jeff Bachner

A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the case against Hempstead Village Deputy Police Chief Richard Holland after finding the prosecution didn't disclose wiretap evidence that the defense said bolsters its contention that Holland gave a politician a campaign contribution and not a bribe.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim said the actions by the Nassau district attorney's office were "completely inconsistent" with the prosecution's legal obligation to turn over discovery materials to the defense.

"I strongly suggest you go through everything and if it's potentially relevant, you turn it over," Sturim told prosecutors Lisa Berk and Jesse Aviram before calling the jury into the courtroom and dismissing them.

Sturim also said while issuing his ruling that he didn't believe the prosecution acted intentionally when failing to disclose the material. He set a new trial date of Oct. 18.

Before the judge's decision, Berk said she had provided the evidence to the defense before Monday's opening statements in the trial and argued that the defense now could use the evidence going forward.

"I wasn't trying to hide anything. It was totally inadvertent," Berk added.

Aviram told jurors during Monday's opening statements that Holland bought his police brass job in 2018 by paying off a corrupt politician and that a series of wiretapped phone calls would prove it.

But Holland's defense attorney, Jerald Carter, told jurors Monday that his client merely made a campaign contribution to now-former Hempstead Village trustee Perry Pettus in May 2018 and that prosecutors were using recorded calls to reinforce the narrative they wanted to tell.

Jurors didn't hear that Pettus is now serving 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in prison after a sentencing last year that followed his guilty plea to charges including bribe-receiving and official misconduct — a plea in which he implicated Holland and other co-defendants in wrongdoing.

Prosecutors claim Holland wrapped a $1,000 cash bribe in newspaper and passed it to Pettus through his vehicle window in a South Hempstead parking lot. Less than a month later, Pettus voted for Holland, then a police lieutenant, to get a promotion.

Carter, who made a motion for a mistrial on Tuesday morning, said in an interview after the jury's dismissal that the wiretapped phone call that wasn't turned over supports the defense's theory of the case.

He said the evidence shows Pettus made a phone call to a third party and indicated that Holland had given him a campaign contribution.

"We have been contending all along that it was a campaign contribution," Carter added.

The Garden City defense attorney, a former Nassau judge, also explained that on Monday evening he discovered an email from the prosecution that had been sent to him at 8:37 a.m. Monday — about 90 minutes before that day's court proceeding began.

The email indicated relevant evidence might not have been turned over, according to Carter, who said no one from the district attorney's office mentioned the email to him before the trial started.

"Under the new discovery statute, they have to turn that over," the attorney added Tuesday. "... It was unintentional on their part but it's fatal as far as we're concerned in terms of this particular trial going forward."

Carter said all Holland wants is a fair trial.

"He wants all the truth to come out. I mean this is a narrative that's been created that he's been unable to respond to and I'm sure he and his family feel that at some point this nightmare's going to end and he can go on being the deputy chief of the department," Carter said of the bribery charge.

Nassau district attorney's office spokeswoman Nicole Turso issued a statement on behalf of prosecutors after the mistrial.

"The People look forward to a new trial, and appreciate the Court’s acknowledgment that the disclosure of this evidence shortly before trial was unintentional," she said.

People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez; Jeff Bachner; File Footage

'I think it's the best for the country' People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee.

People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez; Jeff Bachner; File Footage

'I think it's the best for the country' People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee.

Latest videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.